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Dozens of refugees rescued off Greece

A migrant holding a baby is helped to disembark a Frontex patrol vessel carrying migrants rescued at open sea, at the port of Skala Sikamineas, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 29, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Dozens of migrants, including a 20-day-old infant, were rescued at sea off Greece's Lesbos Island early on Sunday, September 29, as the country faced a new surge in arrivals.

Although no comparison to the major wave of 2015, Greece is seeing a sudden increase in arrivals of migrants to its shores. In the 24-hour period between Saturday, September 28, and Sunday morning, 164 migrants were rescued at sea or landed on Lesbos, according to the Greek coast guard. A total of 3,432 migrants arrived in the past week on Lesbos and other Greek islands close to Turkey.

Volunteers from the NGO Refugee Rescue waited in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday for coast guard vessels laden with rescued families to arrive at port, and helped the wet migrants put thermal blankets on themselves and their children. 

On Friday, September 27, seven migrants, including five children, drowned after their boat capsized in the Aegean Sea near the Greek island of Chios.

More than 7,000 migrants have arrived in Greece by sea in September alone, three thousand more than the same month last year, according to the refugee agency UNHCR.

The increase in arrivals has piled additional pressure on Greece's overcrowded island camps, all of which are operating at least twice their capacity.

Charity Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) says about 24,000 migrants and refugees are trapped on Greek islands camps in "horrendous" conditions, with overcrowding causing a deterioration in sanitation facilities, a lack of safety, and increasing violence.

(Source: Reuters)

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